'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey

Nu Skin,
Shanghai

Forms of experience

The project’s mission was to build a centralised purpose-built headquarters with ample space, facilities and quality to support its fast-growing customer base and distributor network in the country.

With a vast greenfield site near Shanghai secured as Nu Skin’s future home, M Moser began to help the company envision what was to become an unusually ambitious project brief.

'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey section
'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey section

The striking architecture of Nu Skin’s China Headquarters evolved from the ‘inside-out’, beginning with a unique journey that takes visitors to the very heart of the company.

From its striking forms to its innovative combination of functions, Nu Skin’s China headquarters offers an iconic example of how architecture can seem to ‘grow’ directly from the unique corporate culture and aspirations of its users. Here, the emotional appeal of a show space converges seamlessly, intuitively, and sustainably with the hard-edged utility of a workspace.

Complex aims

In addition to providing a flexible, expandable workspace for executives and administrative staff, the site was to serve as the firm’s primary centre in China for research and development, quality assurance and control, and warehousing.

Simultaneously, it would provide a brand-immersive experience for distributors and staff, and be used as a venue for annual gatherings of distributors. LEED Gold certification was identified as the project’s sustainability goal.

'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey section
'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey section

Rather than engaging multiple consultants and contractors to execute each facet of the project individually, Nu Skin opted to place project design leadership in our hands, including all architectural, MEP, interiors and sustainability design, interior construction management and contracting.

This allowed for a single team of M Moser in-house specialists to approach the project holistically, collaboratively, and with a level of coordination that saved considerable time compared to a traditional process.

'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey section
'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey section

Designed globally

Interactive 3D virtual modelling via WebEx was a crucial tool in this respect, especially given the far-flung locations of various project participants. M Moser’s project team included strategic planners, architects, interior designers, LEED sustainability advisors, and MEP engineers located in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Irvine CA, and Shanghai.

They collaborated closely with Nu Skin’s decision-makers in Shanghai and Provo, Utah and with a Local Design Institute and consultants in Shanghai that were responsible for process engineering, structural engineering and submission documents.

'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey section
'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey section

Our team’s primary challenge during the project’s planning and design development was to weave an interactive visitor experience into a facility that would also function effectively as a laboratory, office, logistics centre and warehouse.

Accounting for future staff growth was a further consideration, as was the need to retain current Nu Skin staff in a move to a site away from central Shanghai.

We provided change management services to assist Nu Skin with potential staff retention issues. As a result, and despite moving from the centre of Shanghai to what is essentially a suburb on its outskirts, the firm did not experience any significant loss of staff.

'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey section
'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey section

Defined by a journey

The journey begins at the two-storey Vision Hall (VH), with its lofty lobby/reception space featuring an inspirational ‘dream wall’. Strikingly, its canted and glazed end-façade is penetrated by one end of a curved, sloping ‘6S bridge’ that connects it to level three of the adjacent Production Development (PD) building.

'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey section

From the ‘vision hall’, visitors wind through the Auditorium Building’s 200-seat Multimedia Exhibition & Experience Hall (MMEEH), through the Production Development (PD) Building to view the laboratories and, optionally, the production and process areas, before reaching the Headquarters Building.

Here, visitors can interact with a series of multimedia displays, view a product showcase, or simply enjoy a coffee or a light meal in the cafeteria.

'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey section

For the campus work areas, our ‘inside-out’ approach resulted in a series of open-plan spaces whose functional effectiveness is complemented by inherent flexibility and expandability.

Planning for the headquarters building, for example, was predicated on a grid of 1.2 meter modules which lent themselves equally well to office furniture layouts using standard off-the-shelf components, and use of building materials of standard dimensions.

The module was subsequently carried through to the mullion spacing and expressed on the external envelope, improving construction speed and overall buildability.

'Inside-out' architecture that takes users on a unique journey section

The campus’s sustainability was similarly organic to the design from its inception. By using an energy model to predict energy usage and by devising strategies for improvement, the project team was able to optimise building alignments, glazing configurations and insulation levels to maximise shade and reduce heat gain, thus cutting energy loading of the HVAC and lighting systems.

The project’s innovative rainwater reclamation and re-use systems, and its extensive use of sustainable material, including recycled and regionally sourced materials, also contributed to the buildings’ LEED Gold certification.

  • Status Completed
  • Area 218,514 sq-ft
  • Completion date 2013
  • Location Shanghai
  • Sustainability LEED Gold

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